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Old 01-23-2013
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Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

I've been doing research on three boats that interested me, a Tayana 37, Crealock 37, and a 1976 Cabo Rico Tiburon.

I asked the question which to buy here at Sailnet and received a lot of great responses. However, responses by two sailnet members warned me that these boats are "tired" and could well cost a lot to make them serviceable.

My goal was to buy a bluewater boat for around $50K and at least get a couple of years of good sailing on the Sea of Cortez without having to sink a lot of money into the boat right away.

I'm well aware that boats need maintenance just like any complex system but am I being unrealistic to think that I can buy a 70's boat in good repair and that a survey will uncover all potential costly repairs so that I may avoid them?
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Old 01-23-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

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Originally Posted by Grunfeld View Post
I've been doing research on three boats that interested me, a Tayana 37, Crealock 37, and a 1976 Cabo Rico Tiburon.

I asked the question which to buy here at Sailnet and received a lot of great responses. However, responses by two sailnet members warned me that these boats are "tired" and could well cost a lot to make them serviceable.

My goal was to buy a bluewater boat for around $50K and at least get a couple of years of good sailing on the Sea of Cortez without having to sink a lot of money into the boat right away.

I'm well aware that boats need maintenance just like any complex system but am I being unrealistic to think that I can buy a 70's boat in good repair and that a survey will uncover all potential costly repairs so that I may avoid them?
I think you can definitely buy a boat in that price range that is serviceable. And, I imagine that there are many 70's boats have been either very well maintained or updated so they will provide lots of great use. That said, I don't think there is a chance in hell that you will find one of the boats you mentioned, at that price, in the condition you describe. Any one of those boats in good+ shape will cost more than that -- in excellent shape (not requiring anything) they will cost much more. Finally, I'd say surveys help avoid the big stuff, they are not perfect and boats *always* cost money.

There are some other boats that are also capable that might be cheaper/ more "bang for your buck". Allieds, Cape Dories, some Pearsons, older Bristols and plenty of others or similar style that have less pedigree than those you named but also smaller price tags.

Luck
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Old 01-23-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

I do think you can buy a boat in 'good repair' - at least reasonable - esp for the limited duty you describe on the Sea of Cortez (presumably with time to 'pick your weather window' for most passages)

There are no guarantees, unfortunately, as to surveys. The surveyor you get, how well (or whether) any issues are hidden, and general disclaimers of liability by the surveyor mean that you get your report and make the best of it. It's always best to be present during survey so you can get a more complete reaction besides the printed word, and a good surveyor will pass on all kinds of nuggets as the survey progresses.

But if you find the boat you like that's been looked after, and esp if you buy in Mexico I'd expect you'll find something... of course, double your budget and you'll find something better!
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Old 01-23-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

No boat from the 70s is going to be in good nick unless EITHER had a recent refit OR continious maintenance and upgrades when necessary. But there are boats out there which have had one or the other and are ready to go.

REMEMBER it is still a huge buyers market.

I recently bought a 44 ft boat built in 78 which had had an extensive refit and was fully prepared for extended cruising for a little more than your budget.
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Old 01-23-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

Here's the deal- you can buy a boat in great condition, or you can buy a bargain boat, but you will rarely find a bargain boat in great condition.

Boats aren't like cars:
A 40 year old car being sold by a little old lady in Florida who has owned it since new, always kept it in the garage, had it serviced every three months and only drove it to church on sundays is a great choice- low miles, no winters, well kept.

OTOH, A 40 year old boat in Florida being sold by a sailor who is no longer able to sail may be a great deal or it may be a pig in a poke. To be blunt, if the owner is too stiff and fragile to sail the boat, that sailor is also too stiff and fragile to keep on top of the maintenance. Likely that sailor has been slowly winding down for years, sailing less and less each year, which means that the boat may well be behind the refit curve. How many times have we seen here sailors who talk about planning to refit their boat for a cruise when they retire? Now, 10, 15, 20 years later that boat comes on the market. yes, the boat received new electronics, new sails, new canvas, new upholstery, had the deck hardware, hatches, vents and ports rebedded and the engine rebuilt...
in 1996.
Odds are, some of it will need to be done again.
Can you get that boat at a price low enough to make the numbers balance when com[ared to buying a boat in better condition?
Yep...but usually only from the owner's estate, after it has languished on the market for years.

Sometimes buyers set the bar too high, trying to buy as much length and displacement as their budget will allow, and then finding themselves raiding the cruising kitty to cover expenses they hadn't figured into the boat purchase budget.

Frankly, I think you are underbudget for the boat you want and overboat for your intended use.

$50K will buy you a Cabo Rico, Tayana, etc.,
Barely.
all are great boats, all are labour intensive- lots of wood, including spreaders, bowsprits, wood hatches, wood rub rails, etc.
If you like boat puttering and are relatively handy, then these boats are a great choice. If you have to hire everything out because your spare time is limited and you want to leave work and sail, not varnish or rewire, then add at least $10K to your purchase cost duriung the first year or less of ownership.

On the other hand, you can find lots of well fitted out "coastal" cruisers for under $50 k, needing less immediate work and with less ongoing maintenance as well.
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Last edited by bljones; 01-23-2013 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 01-23-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

"Frankly, I think you are underbudget for the boat you want and overboat for your intended use." - blJones

You're probably right about being underbudgeted but to clarify intended use I want to sail in the Sea of Cortez first to familiarize myself to the boat in relatively easier sailing grounds than the deep blue sea and also to enjoy the beauty of Cortez but then I'd like to take on more ambitious ventures.
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Old 01-23-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

I too think you are potentially setting yourself up for heartache.

As others have mentioned, a survey is no guarantee. Consider this: On the best of days, a surveyor is going to have maybe 10-12 hours to go over the boat with a careful eye. Unless the boat has been completely emptied, then that time will also include moving stuff around to try and gain vantage points from which to assess whether or not systems meet safety requirements and their overall condition. The bigger the boat, the more crunched that time becomes. Sometimes (dare I say often?) issues will go unnoticed. To put it in perspective, I'm still finding things that were undoubtedly wrong when I purchased our boat in 2008 -- and that's even after we lived aboard for two years, to include doing the Great Loop. The best you can realistically hope for is that the big ticket items show their heads during the survey, and that your surveyor is sufficiently experienced to recognize them. I guess what I'm trying to say here is to do your best to find the absolutely very best surveyor(s) you can to do your survey(s), but don't expect miracles from him/her/them.

Am I saying that your desires are unobtainable? No, but you will need to devote a massive amount of time & energy into your search and you will need to have a fair amount of luck to be at the right place at the right time -- a boat which meets all of your criteria will not be on the market for long, and may never even make it into a listing service like YachtWorld before it is snapped up.
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Old 01-23-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

For the older boats, you're not buying the boat, you're buying the owner. I bought an '82 Pearson 32' which was treated like a shared heritage (it's the last hull laid). I have all the original manuals, decades of maintenance records, and I'm continuing the tradition. It cost me $20k, but I've put close to that into it and I still don't have radar or solar. When I was looking, I found 3 boats that had owners who were clearly over the top in their maintenance, had added many enhancements and treated it as a labor of love. I bought one of those boats/owners.

I would also suggest that a newer engine and sails (or replacement) be part of your plan. My engine had 450 hours. Look for engines which are slightly overpowered for the boat size and with under 900 hours. The sail set you'll have to decide for yourself based upon usage.

A quality surveyor is a must, and spend some hours finding the right guy. I looked at the surveys for a bunch of boats I didn't buy, and after I found what seemed to be the right guy, I checked with other owners, a boat yard, and a broker to confirm my decision. I spent $$$ on two surveys and backed out of the first boat, because the surveyor saw things I didn't.

Reserve 20-40% of your budget to upgrade things you Really Should Have, and I'd put modern electronics in that category for offshore use (SSB, GPS, radar, GPIRB), but there are experienced sailors who do without those.

Finally, if you're sailing in the Sea of Cortez you can buy boats cheaply Down There. Check out Latitude 38's Classy Classifieds. However, you should know some people down there who can help you find the right surveyor, boatyards, etc. You may have to spend a few weeks on site to avoid making a mistake.
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Old 01-24-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

I bought a 32ft boat from 71 for 10k$. It is in perfectly fine shape. It has relatively new standing rigging. The engine is from the 80s. I feel confident i could cross oceans with this boat and maybe i will.

Other than those things and the sails i dont really see how the age of the boat could be so important. If it just keeps being maintained, a boat should stay in shape forever if you ask me. The only thing that scares me is the day that the engine will need to be replaced. But it is running fine for now.
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Old 01-27-2013
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Re: Are Boats Built in the 70's Just Too Tired

Judging by the construction of what I've seen in older and newer boats, I'd take an old one that needs work over a shiny new one any day. The construction of older boats just seems better in many cases, especially where it counts (hull, deck, etc).

You can strip an electrical system, replace sails, fix motors, etc, but you can't go back and improve hull construction or design.

I'm partial to old boats, but I like restoring things, so maybe that's just me. I feel that many of the boats from that era are likely to outlast me, provided they are cared for.
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